'People have forgotten just how late the first iPhone arrived ...'

Plus: 'Google's IDEALISM is an injudicious justification for inappropriate biz practices'

QuoTW This was the week when IBM told a bunch of staffers that their skills weren’t up to scratch. To sort the problem out, Big Blue says it’s going to force them into mandatory training and make them give up ten per cent of their salaries for the privilege.

In an email to workers, IBM said:

A recent assessment revealed that some GTS [Global Technology Services] US SO executives, managers and employees have not kept pace with acquiring the skills and expertise needed to address changing client needs, technology and market requirements.

You have been identified as one of these employees.

The required training will cover cloud, analytics, mobile, security and social, which IBM shortens to CAMMS. The acronym was swiftly rearranged by trade union site Alliance@IBM, which says the whole thing is just a poorly disguised cost cutting measure. One commenter said:

Friday when I was told I was "not affected" by the SCAMS action, I was also told I would get to pick up my SCAMSed colleagues' work. And no, I'm not getting their 10 per cent pay cut added to my pay. So ALL of the US GTS employees are getting the CAMMS-shaft, one way or the other.

While another was confused about their need for training:

I have received recognition this year for sharing my expertise and offered to be a mentor when asked. So just where are my skills lacking?

Dissenters who don’t want to endure the mandatory programme are being invited to look elsewhere in IBM for opportunities that match their skillset – or they can take the third option outlined by IBM spokesman Trink Guarino to the New York Times:

This involves a very small number of people and we're working to preserve their jobs.

Also this week, media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp wrote to European competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia protesting that the authority had not done enough to stamp on Google’s search market dominance. The multinational’s chief exec Robert Thomson wrote to the EC last week, but the firm pointed the letter out in a press statement this week, after it went unnoticed.

Thomson wrote:

Your decision to reconsider Google’s settlement offer comes at a crucial moment in the history of the free flow of information and of a healthy media in Europe and beyond.

Google must do more to ensure that rights are respected and that its powerful search platform is not abused to eliminate competition.

He went on in a rather more forceful manner, accusing the Choc Factory of ignoring unlawful and unsavoury searches and an unwillingness to respect property rights:

The shining vision of Google’s founders has been replaced by a cynical management, which offers advertisers impressively precise data about users and content usage, but has been a platform for piracy and the spread of malicious networks, all while driving more traffic and online advertising dollars to Google.

He claimed:

"Internet idealism" is used by Google and certain other digital companies as an injudicious justification for inappropriate business practices.

Over at Apple, Tim Cook has altered the firm’s privacy policy and used the event to talk up how good and righteous the fruity firm is compared to all those other nasty tech outfits:

We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t "monetise" the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you.

Of course, Apple does gather data on you, but that information is just for product improvement. Well, apart from iAd. But at least that service doesn’t get its data from Health Kit, Home Kit, Maps, Siri, iMessage, calls or iCloud stuff.

Cook also claimed that the company had never allowed government spooks in through the back door:

We have never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will.

eBay has enraged sellers by dropping offline yet again, with another inexplicable technical blunder taking the tat bazaar out. Irate users took to Twitter (naturally) to complain:

That latter commentator turned out to be most prophetic, as eBay did come forward later in the week to say that seller fees would be refunded after the seven hour outage. eBay's global customer experience bod Steve Boehm said in an email to sellers:

We know how much it matters to your livelihood that eBay functions properly and that lately our performance hasn't met your expectations. We apologise for this, and we're taking steps to make sure that we exceed your expectations going forward.

Sellers were told that they would get their fees back for certain kinds of listings that ended between 11.15am and 8.45pm BST on Sunday. But Reg reader Jim said the online marketplace hadn’t gone far enough:

No mention if this is the listing fee (pittance), or the final value fee (loadsa money), or both.

And finally, self-proclaimed tech guru and celebrated media personality Stephen Fry has once more taken to the pages of a national publication to proclaim his undying love for all things Apple. The QI presenter penned a missive for the pages of the Graun, detailing just how “exquisite” the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are to him.

So thrilled is fanboi Fry with his new gadgets, as he told his “darling” readers, that he threw his drink all over new Apple designer Marc Newson at the launch:

The matchless design and innovation team led by Jony Ive – who has headhunted to Apple the brilliant Australian designer Marc Newson (over whom at the launch I spilled some horrible green wheatgrass and spirulina drink that would otherwise have gone all over P Diddy) – has produced two devices of absolutely exquisite dimensions, heft and feel. I have played with both for a week and cannot decide which I would keep.

In what can only be an incredible coincidence, The Reg's own Stephen Pie was also quite enamoured of the new iGear:

With the iPhone, Apple wasn't first either, but the heartbreakingly dead staggering genius Steve Jobs - the most important man ever to live on Earth, as I was the only one with the courage to point out - wanted to wait until he could achieve perfection. People have forgotten just how late the first iPhone arrived and how utterly, superbly different it was to the rushed efforts of those who had gone before. It was free of defects: in fact it was free of everything. It had no 3G, no GPS, no multitasking, no copy-paste, no card slot, no swappable battery, no file system access, and - this was the totally unique Apple differentiator - absolutely no way of installing software on it without paying money to Apple, which is only right and proper after all they did make the phone darling. Being worst isn't the point, being last is!

Indeed. ®

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